Thursday, March 01, 2007
Recipe: Kashi Halwa
Having aroused the appetite of everybody by giving a big list of the goodies we had during the wedding, I feel it only proper to give the recipe of some of the goodies we had. We already have recipes of Rava Kesari, Aviyal, Olan, Nendran Chips, Sarkkarai puratti, Sambar, Kalan, Idli Molagai podi, Puliyodarai, etc.
We will now prepare Kashi Halwa. Many people are under the impression that Kashi Halwa is some special sweet of the city of Kashi or Benares. Far from it, Kashi Phal in Hindi means ash gourd or winter melon, Vellai Pooshanikkai in Tamil, Elavan or Kumbalanga in Malayalam, Kumbalakkai in Kannada Boodha Gummidikkai in Telugu. This vegetable is cooling, and also a laxative and diuretic. Additionally, it supplies bulk with a low calorie count. The juice of this vegetable is said to have many medicinal properties. This vegetable can be used to prepare many dishes (for instance, olan). Kashi Halwa, however tops the list.
To prepare Kashi Halwa, one must use fully mature ash gourd, which is heavy for its size. When cut it should be firm and not spongy. The vegetable should be peeled, washed, deseeded and grated. The gratings should be squeezed to remove all the water content. The gratings should be dry. Do not throw away the water. It can be used as vegetable stock for preparing soups or even sambar or rasam or dal.
Grated and squeezed ash gourd : 2 cups
Milk : 1 cup
Sugar : 1 cup
Ghee : 3 tbsp.
Saffron : 2 – 3 strands
Orange food color : a pinch
Cashew nuts(broken) : 1 tbsp
Raisins : 1 tbsp.
Cardamom powder : ½ tsp.
Boil the milk and cook the grated and squeezed ash gourd in the milk. (I did it in a pressure cooker, so that by the time the ash gourd cooks the milk also thickens). Mix the saffron in a little milk and add to the cooked ash gourd. Mix the food color also in a little milk and add to the cooked ash gourd. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat 2 tbsp. of ghee and saute the cooked ash gourd in it for 5 minutes, Add the sugar and keep stirring until all the sugar is absorbed and the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan. Add one tbsp. of ghee and mix well. Add the cardomom powder and remove from the stove. Heat the remaining ghee in a pan and add the cashew nuts and raisins. When the cashew nuts turn light pink in color pour onto the halwa. Mix well.
Enjoy the delicious Kashi halwa!